Despite the influx of new ways to communicate with clients (e-mails, blogs, etc.), a personal phone call still remains a powerful way to stay in touch. Along with this great communication tool comes the not-so-fun possibility of having to leave a voicemail message. Few people enjoy leaving voicemails, playing the waiting game after leaving a message, or not having the call returned at all. Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions Colleen Francis likens the voicemail box to a black hole. This is a perfect metaphor for how many feel when hearing the recorded message answer your call: “No matter what you put into it, your efforts never see the light of day ever again-prospects don’t return your calls and you spend more time than you think you can afford being on the phone leaving message after message,” she explains in a recent article on Rain Today. She lays out a three-step plan that will make sure your messages are heard, but also returned. Below is the first step, and the other two can be read by clicking here. Step #1: Leave a short, purposeful message that requires no action by the person you are calling. “Notice that the message does not include leaving your phone number. There’s a reason for that. Your first message must not require any kind of task or action on the part of the called party. You’re the one who makes the commitment to call back at a specific date and time. Also, if the call is a referral, be sure to include that person’s name in your message. Doing so helps to establish that you’re not some stranger at the other end of the line. You’re a known quantity who has something that is useful to offer to the person you are calling. This gives the called party an added incentive to talk to you.”